I pray for my children every day and all throughout the day. But I have a confession to make: most of my prayers are for immediate needs. "God, please help my children not to reach out and touch the priceless works of art at the museum."
"Please don't let the tummy ache be a virus we all catch."
"Please give me patience in homeschool today."
You get the idea.
Prayer is often misunderstood, underused, and often doubted. Yet God uses our prayers to bring about his will. Some of the most remarkable answers to prayer include prisoners set free (Acts 12), the blind healed (Mark 10), and a thief given new life (Luke 23). John Piper wrote in A Godward Life that some things God ordains to come to pass only through the agency of prayer. If that something is not prayed for, it will not happen.
This is sobering for us as parents. Though praying for the health of our children or for behavioral concerns is good, it is also so much more. The options of things we could pray about for our children are endless, but here are four things we should never cease to pray:
1. That God Would Make Them Alive in Christ
Only the Holy Spirit can breathe new life into our children. We need to pray that the Spirit would be at work in them, opening their eyes to see, know, trust, and believe in Christ for their salvation.
2. That They Would Hunger and Thirst After God's Word
Jesus prayed for the disciples that God would sanctify them by the truth, for his word is the truth (John 17: 17). The word of God is powerful and effective to change us. We need to pray our children would always want to study and learn God's word so that they might know him better. God's word is like manna to the soul. Without it, we wander in the wilderness, starving and feeding off of the tasteless and worthless morsels the world has to offer. We need to pray that our children would always find their soul filled and satisfied with the word of God.
3. That They Would Rely on the Gospel of Grace in Each and Every Moment
We live in a society where independence is valued. Scripture teaches otherwise. It teaches us to depend on Christ and his grace in everything. Prayer for our children should include prayers that they would depend and rely upon the gospel in all things, including sins, temptations, trials, hurts, fears, spiritual growth, and their work.
4. That They Would Know God's Love
Paul prayed for the Ephesians, "that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge" (3:17-19). This should be our prayer as well. When our children know the depths of God's love for them in Christ, they will live like adopted children rather than orphans. They will rest and trust in what Christ has done for them. They will have confidence that Christ is all they need.
To paraphrase the words of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5, may we pray without ceasing for our children.
Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at To Show Them Jesus and on Facebook.